Telehealth startup, Ro, aims to become an alternative to traditional healthcare with a direct-to-consumer business model that offers affordable healthcare services, without insurance involvement.
The company has been growing steadily for nearly four years, evolving from humble beginnings, starting with several business lines which catered to issues like hair loss, erectile dysfunction, weight loss, and smoking cessation. Now, Ro has bloomed into a full-service care resource, with its own pharmaceutical distribution centers. Its immersive care includes virtual diagnosis and prescription services as well as in-home visits from healthcare practitioners. Ro even offers lab services via acquired startup, Workpath, which dispatches phlebotomists to people’s homes to draw blood for lab diagnostic tests.
Perhaps its most notable feature lies in the way the company handles its transactions. Instead of investing time and resources into collaborating with insurance companies and wading through deductibles, Ro offers patients flat-rate services, which are often just as, if not more, affordable as visiting a doctor with insurance. Current rates include $15 virtual appointments, and monthly prescription delivery services starting at $5.
Though the company is not completely opposed to integrating insurance companies into its business model in the future, the choice to not initially include them was an intentional one. CEO, Zachariah Reitano, believes that the current insurance system is ineffective at accurately displaying the upfront costs of yearly healthcare, and the full hidden costs and stipulations which leave consumers paying more and more out of pocket. The plan with Ro was to create flat-rate costs for all services and make them affordable enough to be accessible to everyone, with or without insurance.
As a testament to the success of its model, Ro has recently finalized a Series D funding round, raising $500 million and gaining a $5 billion valuation. The company will be using these funds to add to software infrastructure, open more pharmacy distribution centers, and hire additional staff to accommodate its growth.
Ro seeks to ride the wave of the changing healthcare climate, as the field has evolved to be more versatile and tech-friendly, especially within the last year. With over 6 million patient-provider recorded interactions since its launch, an expansion to nearly a dozen pharmacy distribution centers, and its recent capital boosts, the company is set to bring the reality of affordable and convenient healthcare to millions of patients.